Bryan-College Station, Texas – December 8, 2014 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) thanks Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parsons in his efforts to combat domestic violence. The Brazos County District Attorney has been serving as a leader in a groundbreaking project between the Texas Council on Family Violence and the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association (TDCAA) that is leading an effort to bring together elected prosecutors from all over Texas to discuss, prioritize and forge solutions related to family violence prosecution.
“I am honored to partner with the Texas Council on Family Violence and work to find innovative ways to combat domestic violence,” said Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parsons.
Miranda Russ Henderson was 13 years old when her father was killed in the line of duty. Ward County Sheriff’s Deputy Lee Russ was stabbed to death while responding to a domestic violence call in the small West Texas town of Monahans. “My father was the first to arrive at the scene and while trying to protect the victim, Norma Sepulveda Galindo, he was stabbed by the victim’s husband 19 times,” said Miranda Russ Henderson. “My dad was able to shoot the husband with his service revolver but when his back up arrived all three had died. My dad was my hero and I learned so much from the sacrifices he made. He worked so hard to give his family the best life we could have. Domestic violence not only affects one victim, it shakes up entire communities.”
“Any time a law enforcement officer’s life is put in danger or family members are injured or killed in a domestic violence murder, it should remind us that domestic violence is a serious problem in the state of Texas,” said District Attorney Parsons.
The district attorney has also launched a new program called Cut it Out and has trained 100 salon professionals in Brazos County. Cut it Out is a program dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the U.S. by building awareness and training salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients, colleagues, friends and family to local resources.
“With proper training on how to recognize the signs of abuse and safely refer victims to help, salon professionals can become invaluable and influential community partners in the fight against domestic abuse. This is one of many ways I plan to help victims find safety,” said Parsons.
Salon professionals are in a unique position to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse in their clients and co-workers. Because of the intimate and nurturing nature of the relationship between salon professionals and their clients and co-workers, salon professionals can often spot signs of physical abuse that others may never see. Research shows that most battered women never call the police or go to a shelter. However, they do usually talk about the abuse with someone they trust. Because salon professionals are skilled and experienced listeners who are personally interested in those around them, many victims suffering from abuse feel comfortable confiding in them – even if they would never tell anyone else. For an abused woman, the salon may be an ideal environment to seek out help because it may be one of the few places she is allowed to go without her abuser.
“We work with women every day and we build a trust with each other—trust with hair— if someone brings up domestic violence we need to be trained on how to handle the situation and spot the warning signs,” said Priscilla Flores, stylist at Funky Cheveux Hair Studio. “I want to be able to help a client thru that part of their life by letting them know that they are not alone.”
“We want everyone who lives in our area to know we are here to help anyone who is in a domestic violence situation,” said Linda Chandler, Program Director of Phoebe’s Home. “We provide shelter, counseling, case management, legal advocacy, safety planning and career assistance. All services are provided at no cost.” Phoebe’s Home is a 24-hour emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. Services are provided at no cost in all seven counties of the Brazos Valley Region: Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington. If you need help, please call the local hotline at 979-775-5355 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
The holidays are a time for reflection and gratitude. Today, we reflect on the large numbers of Texas families who will spend Christmas in domestic violence shelters across the state. Over the past year, 223,000 Texans called domestic violence hotlines, nearly 80,000 people, primarily women and children sought services from family violence programs, because they did not feel safe in their own homes and 119 women lost their lives along with 17 additional family members, friends and bystanders in domestic violence homicides.
“The holiday season is a time for reflection on the pain caused by family violence,” said Gloria A. Terry, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “We salute Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parsons and thank him for not only strengthening the response and services to families in crisis, but for inspiring hope for a safer, more peaceful Texas.”
Parsons serves as a part of a core group of prosecutors from across Texas chosen to help lead the effort across the state. They include prosecutors from El Paso, Comal County, Vernon, Floresville, Brazos County, Travis County, Killeen, Houston and Nueces County.
Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://tcfv.org/